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ED Arrests Former BJP Minister Choudhary Lal Singh in Jammu for Alleged Money Laundering

General secretary of DSSP says action against Singh a “political vendetta”
Choudhary Lal Singh

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Srinagar: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested former minister Choudhary Lal Singh, who is the chairman of the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP), officials said on Wednesday. 

Hari Dutt, the general secretary of DSSP, told NewsClick that the action against Singh is a matter of “political vendetta” as he is one of the main oppositionist voices in the union territory. 

“The BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) talks about political empowerment, but what our leader is facing is political vendetta. He is the only voice that speaks for the people of Jammu,” Dutt said. Singh, however, was shifted to Government Medical College in Jammu on Wednesday morning for treatment after he complained of health complications.

After the court rejected his pre-arrest bail, a team of ED investigators arrested him Tuesday night from a residence in Duggar Haveli at Chowadi, close to Jammu city. 

Singh, who served as Minister for Forest, Environment, and Ecology of J&K in the PDP (People’s Democratic Party)-BJP coalition government between 2014 and 2018, was questioned in a case related to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) concerning an educational trust operated by his wife, who is also a former legislator Kanta Andotra.

An anti-corruption court in Jammu had on Tuesday dismissed his anticipatory bail application, saying that the allegations are serious in nature.

Singh is a two-time Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and was earlier affiliated with BJP before he floated his own party in 2018. He has since emerged as a vocal critic of the ruling party, especially after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. Singh’s DSSP has been advocating for statehood for Jammu separately and constitutional safeguards on issues like jobs. 

In 2018, Singh was also mired in controversy for supporting the accused in the infamous Kathua rape and murder case. 

“BJP is using the ED to muzzle the voice of the leaders of the Jammu Region. Former Minister Choudhary Lal Singh was arrested by the ED. Remember, when he was with the BJP, he was considered good and clean, but when he left the BJP, he suddenly became corrupt. The people of Jammu are watching and will give a befitting reply to the BJP,” Rohit Choudhary, a political activist, wrote on X. 

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